Thursday, March 20, 2014

Animoto for Social Studies


Animoto for Education





Tinker vs. Des Moines School District


Topic:  Landmark Court Cases


Another Animoto video!  This is a sample video I created for a Social Studies teacher who wanted to give Animoto a try.  The topic for students will be landmark Supreme Court Cases.  Animoto really is a technology tool that can be used with ANY content area!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Using Blendspace with Nonfiction Books (formerly Edcanvas)






Recently, our media center students used Blendspace to showcase their knowledge on a nonfiction book they recently read.  Blendspace is a free educational tool for teachers and students.  Teachers register with their email address and receive a class code for their students to use.  This makes it much easier to assess student projects using Blendspace because you can access all of the presentations under your teacher login once students register (with the class code) and join your class.



What is Blendspace?  Blendspace is a presentation/curation tool that stores various type of texts and media files in a modular format.


One of the things I really like about Blendspace is the ability to easily search, access, drag, and drop content within the Blendspace application itself.  It has a great toolbar that accesses Google image and web, Flickr, and YouTube videos.  Blendspace users also can access Google Drive and upload their own files. Additional options include linking to other webpages.  Students have the ability to annotate resources by adding comments (either by recording their own audio file or by typing in notes or comments).  There's even a thumbs-up "Like" that can be added to Blendspace tiles.



My media center students enjoyed using Blendspace.  I like giving them the capability to create a presentation that can include several different types of media and text (audio, text, pictures, website links, video, ppt. slides, etc).  This projects supports CCSS in its emphasis on including different text types and digital media to represent information on the same topic.  Students are analyzing the content and subject of their nonfiction books and curating different types of resources that relate to their nonfiction reading.


Personally, Blendspace interface seems to me a bit boring.  I would enjoy seeing more interactive elements as you play the presentation.  The students, however, really seemed to enjoy it.

One of our students, who frequently doesn't complete assignments, loved working on his Blendspace!  We all know technology can be a great motivator.  This student, however, even seemed reluctant to work on a music video using Animoto.

Why did Blendspace, specifically, appeal to him?  I am not exactly sure.....

BUT it definitely convinces me that it is also a worthwhile educational tool to use with secondary students.


You can find Blendspace projects completed by our students below:


Check out the lesson American Indian Mythology on Blendspace:


























Thursday, March 13, 2014

Reading Rocks~! Animoto and Nonfiction Texts

Animoto in Education


Using Animoto to Promote the Reading of Nonfiction Texts


I love using Animoto to showcase student learning!  Recently I posted about creating a music video on a fiction book using Animoto.  An English teacher at my high school recently came into our media center and asked about ideas for student book projects.  I suggested to her that the students could read a nonfiction title instead of fiction.  As we all know, CCSS emphasizes the reading of informational text.  The more students read nonfiction, the better they will be at comprehending, analyzing, synthesizing, etc.these texts types that are typically also written at a higher lexile level.

The project was a success!

We started out with a library activity where the students chose one book from each division of the Dewey Decimal System and described why it was a title they found to be interesting.  This activity helped students see the variety of high interest books and topics that are available in each area.  It helped dispel the notion that nonfiction = reference materials, textbook-y, dry, and boring academia books.

I also did a booktalk and used a variety of nonfiction books to showcase - such as the following:




            








I also showed students a sample of their assessment - a music video with texts and captions featuring a nonfiction book in our media center.

I chose No Choirboy:  Murder, Violence, and Teenagers on Death Row by Susan Kuklin as my video topic:









The students enjoyed reading their nonfiction books and loved creating a music video with Animoto.  Animoto allows them the chance to upload and include their own visuals, graphics, and images in their final video.  They also can demonstrate their learning by including relevant texts, keywords, and vocabulary all relating to the topic and subject of their nonficiton texts.

Here are a few student examples of our music videos made in Animoto on nonfiction books:






































































I wish I could post all of the videos, but this teacher's class was very large!  I am adding more of the music videos on nonfiction books to a Symbaloo


New to Animoto?  Just apply at the educator's site for the free Educator's Account in order to obtain a classroom code!

This code will allot you 50 student accounts with full access - full length video productions!  Your account will expire in 6 months.  Re-applying under your account settings, though, is easy and fast.

Animoto is very user-friendly.  You can find tutorials on their website that will guide you through the video-making process.

This is really a great tool to use with students - particularly those who tend to be hands-on learners.


Digital Portfolio Tools for Education

As a former high school English teacher, then Library Media Specialist, and now Instructional Technology Specialist, I am always on the look...

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